Simon Parkes' book on the rise of the Brixton Academy is fascinating. Being a south-Londoner and having actually attended many gigs at the Academy I was surprised that I knew none of the background to one of London's best venues. The book is extremely easy to read and even at just over four hundred pages didn't take me more than a few reading sessions to complete. Simon does come across as a very likeable person who was a genuine music fan wishing to create something special, and given the situations he encountered while creating the venue - especially during the mid-80's - he would have to have loved his work in order to keep him going. What was interesting was how Simon saw Brixton as a place. I am too young to remember the riots of the 80's but certainly know what even now nearly 3 decades later Brixton's reputation still exists so I can well believe that at the time he opened the venue this was something genuinely shocking and brave. The main thing that I came away from the book with was that actually its a huge disappointment that venues don't operate in the same ways any more, with extortionate ticket prices and removing the gig 'experience' - which Simon alludes to at the end of the book. Despite all the positives of the book I couldn't shake the feeling that there was maybe a slight creative licence taken when describing some of the shadier or dangerous parts of Brixton business, but it never took away from the impact of the story. To me it did appear that Simon reflects a lot more kindly on the 80's period of the Academy and well over half the book is dedicated to it. There is nothing wrong with this as it is obvious that part of the excitement was the journey to the top - however, it did make the book feel slightly lopsided as Simon appeared to sprint through the 90's. Overall, a well written and engaging book about what is correctly described as one of London's best venues by someone that had a passion, vision and drive to create it.